Re-producing western goods for transnational markets: Case studies in rebranding and revaluing second-hand clothes | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1757-2681
  • E-ISSN: 1757-269X



In an age of consumer plenty, the over abundance of clothing available to western consumers has, through rapid cycles of consumption and disposal, generated a surfeit of unwanted, yet clearly still useful, second-hand clothing. While some of these garments are sold in charity shops, many find their way to commercial sorters who specialize in transforming these waste items to wanted, and resalable, goods in new contexts. This is done by adding value to the garments, through selection from the waste pile, by giving further care through washing or mending, and by specially choosing new market outlets for optimum resale. Through these means, old clothes are effectively rebranded with a metaphorical quality mark of the person or company reprocessing them. Based on three case studies with middlemen resellers who operate on local, national and transnational scales, this article shows that the reinvigoration of second-hand clothes is embedded in person-to-person and person-to-clothing relations, whereby new value is given to old clothes that often supersedes the designations of brand names and labels granted during original production.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): branding; clothing; labels; markets; middlemen; second-hand; transnational; value
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